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The Year of Endless Sorrows

3.57 of 5 stars 3.57  ·  rating details  ·  339 ratings  ·  64 reviews
New York City, the early 1990s: the recession is in full swing and young people are squatting in abandoned buildings in the East Village while the homeless riot in Tompkins Square Park. The Internet is not part of daily life; the term "dot-com" has yet to be coined; and people's financial bubbles are burst for an entirely different set of reasons. What can all this mean fo ...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published December 26th 2006 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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I really enjoyed reading this book. Rapp is a beautiful writer, and I found myself copying down many passages for future perusal. I also found myself wishing I could be as eloquent in my writing (and in my thoughts about New York City) as he is.

I laughed out loud quite a bit reading this book, but I often felt like crying, too. This book follows Opie (also nicknamed Homon), whose real name we never learn - which, in and of itself, makes me feel sad. I suppose it's not unusual to not know a prota
Part of me wants to give this book four stars, but I have to be honest - about half way through I gave up and just read the last chapter to get it finished.

Many times while reading I felt as if I were fa-la-la-la-ing through an adult Dr. Seuss story. The technique and style were very clever in the beginning, but after awhile I got tired and sometimes frustrated. Also, there were many similes/comparisons that frankly made no sense at all and sometimes I had to stop reading to try to figure out w
Katherine Furman
At first, a lot of the appeal for me from this book was that it's the story of a freshly graduated newbie in New York City's publishing world. It was easy to relate to because I just closed out my first year doing that same thing in that same city. The stories/sorrows the author/main character (I feel like this is an autobiographical book, but I don't know anything about the author so I can't say fore sure) carefully betrays are out and out weird, largely disgusting, and occasionally serendipito ...more
Deirdre Wegner
This is the story of a young author's first year in NYC in the early 90s. Basically an extreme version of anything that's ever happened to you in New York, disgustingly mythical roommates, questionable loft living, working terribly stifling office jobs while dreaming of working at the creative job you actually came to NY to work on in the first place. While all of this sounds extremely depressing its actually a very funny book.
Its a good read if you want to remind yourself how far you've come, o
Beautiful prose about disgusting things. Any time the phrase "cradling our baby's remains" appears in a novel, you should stop reading it. That is my advice to you.

"I kept my slowly growing novel in the freezer. I had been working on it for months. I liked the idea of putting a day's work in th a sealed compartment designed for preserving food; it somehow married the ideas of nutritional and intellectual subsistence." - p. 53

"It has to do with acute knee pain and the end of the world." - repeate
Jun 02, 2007 Sarah rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: transplanted midwesterners, starving artists
This is Rapp's first "adult novel" (he's written several young adult novels as well as some plays). I'm not sure that I would be enchanted by it if I were a real adult, but I'm a sucker for books where I have something in common with the protagonist. The narrator is a 22 year-old writer who grew up in the Midwest, went to a liberal arts college, and then moved to New York. The story chronicles a year or so of his life in the city in the early 1990s, which includes squatting in a building in the ...more
A story about New York in the early 90s. Reads like a memoir, but is apparently fictional. Although I've never lived in NYC, and I was in the single-digit ages in the early 90s, I could completely relate to the protagonist's struggle to create a new kind of life while his Catholic, Midwestern upbringing follows him everywhere he goes. ("Wherever you go, there you are.") Rapp's powers of description are unparalleled -- I laughed out loud several times at the absurd perfection of the language.
G. Marie
Rapp's word choices constructed in my brain a merry-go-round of linguistic delight. I will randomly crack open the book right now and type a line or two just for you:

"After four grim flights of stairs ... the sight of the Loach on the slowly darkening sofa wasn't exactly what I would call Happy Hour Nirvana. As usual, I gazed upon a lack of clothing and an abundance of thinning-yet-always-resilient tufts of simian hair and the the imitation topaz toenails and the bullet-hole eyes and smelled the
Matthew Mcalister
Dec 17, 2012 Matthew Mcalister rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: YA lit fans
I regret finishing this book. I read its 400 pages hoping it would get better, but instead it only grew more frustrating as the protagonist became more and more annoying and sinned-against.

It was overwritten, with way too many similes and paragraph after paragraph of descriptions. Rapp tries to be funny and cute and fails over and over again. I didn't like any of the characters, and indeed, almost grew to loathe the nameless protagonist, so that by the end I was glad that horrible things happene
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Sep 17, 2007 John rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: dave eggars fans
i quit this book. despite that i have oodles in common with the protagonist - midwest boy turned poor new york publishing house slag, among other quirks - and that i did find the writing entertaining at times, rapp's tragicomic self-indulgences reek nauseatingly of dave eggars' heartbreaking work of (oh god look how simultaneously touching and funny i can make my) staggering(ly formulaic and vaguely factual memoir-novel) genius. if i remember, they do right to compare the novel with eggars and h ...more
Mar 06, 2009 Meaghan rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: disaffected twentysomethings
This was definitely Adam Rapp's worst book, which is a shame -- his young adult novels are wonderful, but this was sorely lacking. Being Rapp, it was beautifully written, but it was also dull as dishwater. I spent the whole book waiting for something to happen, and nothing did. There was no suspense, no action, nothing but a trickle of beautiful and unusual phrases. Please, please just read Little Chicago or The Copper Elephant before you read this pretentious waste of paper.
I really dont know how to describe this book. Rapp spends so much time doing character development that the plot really gets very little attention. The writing itself is very eloquent and descriptive and the characters are almost larger than life really but the story goes nowhere and I was left with a feeling of incompleteness when I finished the last page. I felt ripped off, all these great characters drew me in but then so much is left untold.

I'm certainly going to look at more of his work, I
I wanted to like this book about an entry-level publishing worker in the early 90s but the stream of homophobic and misogynist language and plot choices and characterizations put me off (for some reason). Also the chapters and chapters of fart jokes. Also the anachronisms in a novel supposedly about its setting. Also the unironic and repeated use of the phrase "making love." Only for those who enjoy reading about self-pitying upper-middle class straight white men and their whimsical adventures i ...more
There were many things that I liked about this book and there were several parts that were laugh out loud funny (almost anything including The Loach). What I didn't like was that Rapp seems to be addicted to using similes and metaphors, averaging one third sentence, and it became distracting. As I read, I kept wondering what odd comparision he would be making in the next sentence.
And the ending was way out of left field for me. For such a humorous novel, I didn't care for the dark ending.
It's quirky. It's sometimes wrong. Huge imaginative. It's the best book I've read since "The Brief Wondrous Life..." by Junot Diaz. Also, it uses my favorite literary device: repetition. I simply heart this book. I love that the protagonist is such an antihero.

On a random note, if I hadn't chanced a visit to Barnes & Nobles when I was visiting New York, this probably would have never ended up in my hands and in my head. Some call it fate.
Latanya Mcqueen
Dec 15, 2008 Latanya Mcqueen added it
Recommends it for: fans of Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, or Then We Came to the End
Shelves: funny-ha-ha
I bought this book because the first fifty pages or so caused me to laugh out loud in the bookstore, which is something that rarely happens. The situations that happen are hilarious and wildly inventive, but the novel goes on endlessly, and about halfway through I was ready for all the shenanigans to be over with. Also, I thought the accent of Basha and her convoluted speech filled with American idioms and expressions used the wrong way a bit much. ...more
barbara hinderer
Reading this book by Adam Rapp was like reading excerpts from my own blog. Except for the content. He writes like I think, and, despite the occasional grotesque description, I was rather impressed. I had picked it up one other time, and had to put it down by page 50. Maybe I just wasn't at the right stage to read it? In any case, a cleverly written book. I may have chosen a different ending, but the book holds true. Good read.
Jun 06, 2007 Vincent rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People with dark humour
The story just keeps alluring me to read on until i read finish it. Very addictive. Very funny.

Things never turn out the way to be, but for the protagonist, the life is getting better even as he rants about his 'weird' room-mates, crazy sex-life and warped up ambition to be an author.

The ending is too much of a tragedy, but its a sharp reminder that life is never too smooth sailing.

Best to be read with a light heart.
Jan 07, 2014 Cassie rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: artist and writer types
Recommended to Cassie by: library shelves
A novel written by Adam Rapp that follows the life of a struggling artist in New York? Shocking!

There are some great pithy quotations about thespians and writers, but overall the novel doesn't have enough oompf for me.
I loved the sarcastic tone of this book, the dark descriptions mixed with pointed humor and some of the phrases the author used made me laugh out loud with their randomness. I raced through the first 100 pages of the book and things slowly went downhill from there. By the last 100 pages, I couldn't wait for the book to end. However, I would say that I enjoyed it overall and would definitely read Rapp again.
On the plus side: some very funny parts; main character is nearly my exact age so the cultural references resonate

On the minus side: a lot of gross-out descriptions of the unsavory roommate; painfully watching the main character make bad choice after bad choice; the suspicion that some parts of the book were salvaged pieces of college creative writing assignments
Sonja Marikovics
Aug 31, 2007 Sonja Marikovics rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: NYers and writers
A great book! I literally judged this book by its cover (who wouldn't want to read a book with a garden gnome on it) and was so glad I bought it.

His descriptions are hysterical and so original -- I've never heard of a fan compared to a cow's tongue before -- I literally devoured this book.

Definitely recommended for a fun read!
I think I like this book mostly for sentimental reasons. It reminds me of when I first moved to Manhattan. Very strange times. The early 90s where the end of an era. By 2002 the city became a massive mall inside a gated community. It made me very nostalgic for my twenties. My salad days as Mamet would say.
Jessica Baxter
a light book about a 20something living in new york in the early nineties. some great scenes and unforgettable characters but the writing was often too detailed and it was about 100 pages too long. the plot didnt start til half way through and youre left wondering what the point of it was...but it was fun.
A good attempt. The storyline was interesting--plain but effective--and the characters were somewhat relatable but some of it came off incredibly crass and unrealistic. The writing was interesting and the amount of detail was good but, beyond that, I couldn't really get into it. Just not for me.
It's hard to explain why I loved this book. Excellent writing, funny and poignant, it felt real and left me wondering how much of this was autobiographical. No matter, it's made me a true fan of the author. I will be reading his entire backlog now and look forward to his next books and plays.
Ok, so not a bad book but the authors previous experience in young adult writing comes through. The story is one of a troubled 20's recent college grad from the midwest moving to NYC. Stories of weird roommates, lost love, and gay brothers fill the pages, but the writing lacks any feeling.
The funniest sex scene I've read in years!!! You will laugh and cry with Adam Rapp... reading this is like meeting a new friend who tells great stories about his life... I was living in NYC in the early 1990's when the book takes place and can totally relate to the atmosphere of the book. A find!
the novelty of this book is that of gibberish, literally... it was perhaps one of the most engaging books i have read in quite some time. while there were times that it drolled on a bit, the overall story line was good and creative, and written in a unique way.
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Adam Rapp says that when he was working on his chilling, compulsively readable young adult novel 33 SNOWFISH, he was haunted by several questions. Among them: "When we have nowhere to go, who do we turn to? Why are we sometimes drawn to those who are deeply troubled? How far do we have to run before we find new possibilities?"

At once harrowing and hypnotic, 33 SNOWFISH--which was nominated as a Be
More about Adam Rapp...
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